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Who Won The Super Bowl Ad Game?

Monday, 2 Feb 2009 | 10:40 AM ET
Doritos Commercial
Doritos Commercial
Doritos Commercial

Since the Super Bowl turned into the ad game, advertisers have become obsessed with scoring big on USA Today's Ad Meter.

It is, after all, considered the gold standard of all advertising metrics.

But unless USA Today changes the scoring to a more complex system — beyond how consumers like the ad and also loop in likelihood of return on investment, this whole thing is going to be out of date pretty soon.

Sure, Doritos is thrilled it won this year's contest, but will it affect sales of the snack? No.

Great microbrews have more of an affect on Budweiser's sales than scoring at the top on the Ad Meter.

And CareerBuilder's ad might have scored high, but it was a whiff on the message. When is it time to get a new job?? How about the right message for these times -- how do you get a job, period?

Laughs just don't sell products folks, relevancy does.

The Business of the Super Bowl
The Business of the Super Bowl

Case in point, Cash4Gold.com was voted the 9th worst commercial by Ad Meter folks.

The spot was perfect for these rough economic times and the phone number on their Web site allows them to track exactly how much they did. It didn't exactly hurt that their buy came at the beginning of the fourth, either.

At the end of the day, Cash4Gold will emerge as the most relevant ad in this entire Super Bowl.

The 288 volunteers commissioned for the USA Today poll might have thought that MC Hammer and Ed McMahon didn't make them chuckle, but I guarantee you one of those volunteers was going home to consider whether this was the best way to trade in their gold. Not one of them thought about stocking up on Doritos.

    • Super Bowl XLIII Financial Winners & Losers

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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